While I was at New York Comic Con this year I had the chance to talk to Donny Cates about The Ghost Fleet and other properties he’s working on. Unfortunately the interview is lost, but something good will come from it I'm sure. One thing was clear from talking to him though, The Ghost Fleet was going to be nothing like Buzzkill. If you’re not familiar with Buzzkill, it was a series out last year from Dark Horse that explored a superhero that obtained his powers from drugs and alcohol. It was full of humor, but also really serious moments. Well The Ghost Fleet vibes the same way, but instead of humor it has action movie sequences. To recap, it’s full of action movie sequences that make you go, “ah, hell yeah” and super serious moments. Let me just tell you… it works.
I’m going to start with the "now" because it’s pointless for me to sum up a one page summary. We find two men driving alongside a pretty decked out semi-truck. Their conversation alludes that someone is sick and that Trace wants to help his friend Ward, but he won’t let him. The conversation is interrupted when the driver of the truck radios them to inform them that the other escort truck has stopped behind them. They pull over and radio the truck and the response they get is a heavy machine gun pointed at them. Trace and Ward make it to cover behind the semi, but their wheels get blow to shit.
Pretty much the rest of the issue is just action. We eventually get some clues as to what the semi is hauling, but sadly if you don’t know what the “ghost fleet” is you’ll probably still be wondering at the end. Since I know I’ll tell you that it’s the super-secret way the government transports things in real life. Here Cates as made it more fantastical and interesting than what they really transport.
What character scenes there are, are really good. Ward and Trace come off like two men that have known each other for a very long time. Their conversation is natural and they’re both likeable characters.
The action unquestionably steals the spotlight. How could it not? It starts on the third page and doesn’t let up. If you’ve ever wanted to see a man obliterated by a semi-truck, then you’re in luck. Seriously though the artwork keeps a wonderful pace never overloading you on explosions or gun play, but given you plenty at the same time. It’s a fast read, but the art keeps your attention just a little longer than it normally would.
I don’t know if they’ll be able to keep the action up in this series, but it’s off to a wonderful start. It was entertaining because of its action, but interesting because of the mystery and the character moments. Like Buzzkill, I won’t be surprised when this series picks up in popularity and even quality.
Writer: Donny Cates Artist: Daniel Warren Johnson Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/5/14 Format: Print/Digital